For the environmentally minded carnivore, meat poses a culinary conundrum. Producing it requires a great deal of land and water resources, and ruminants such as cows and sheep are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, according to the World Resources Institute.
That's why many researchers are now calling for the world to cut back on its meat consumption. But some advocates say there is a way to eat meat that's better for the planet and better for the animals: grass-fed beef.
But is grass-fed beef really greener than feedlot-finished beef? Let's parse the science.
America is one of the world leaders in per capita meat consumption—which means we’re also one of the most inefficient users of land and other resources when it comes to feeding people.
We love the notion that a happy cow yields great meat. Finally, the flavor of grass-fed beef is living up to the hype. Here’s where to get it and how to cook it.
What does the “grass-fed” label really mean? My research into food labeling regulations has opened my eyes, and the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve come to suspect that many (most?) labels are just full of crap (and frankly downright insulting at times). So I mentally added a “Research Grass-Fed Meat Labels” task to my to-do list and did some analysis for all of us.
Unlike the many cattle operations out West that pack their animals onto small lots and feed them a slurry of grains to fatten them up quickly, Campbell’s allows its Black Angus steers to graze on pastureland for much of the year, taking nearly two years to mature the animals. In winter, their diet is supplemented with corn silage and hay.
“We’re raising them the right way, in a healthy environment,” Mr. Campbell said.
While even large commercial cattle operations now sell grass-fed beef and many supermarkets stock it, some consumers prefer the beef they get from small producers online.
That pricey grass-fed burger you had for lunch may have come from a cow that ate more than just grass.
As it stands now, the U.S. Agriculture Department will consider any labeling claim relating to what percentage of a cow’s diet was grass, as long as the company can back it up with documentation. Some say that’s misleading and that only animals fed grass from beginning to end should be labeled grass-fed.
Grass-fed beef is all the rage these days. Everyone says it tastes better and is more humane for the cattle. But what about the environment? Is pasturing earth-friendly, or just cow-friendly?
With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone. But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat,
These days, the thought of ingesting hamburger gives many people pause. Massive beef recalls and books like Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation have impressed upon readers' minds the image of the modern beef cow, packed tightly in an enormous feedlot, standing in a cesspool of its brethren's manure as it gorges itself on an excessively medicated mix of corn and rendered animal protein. Although livestock diseases have devastated farms in Europe, American factory farming has earned an especially bad name for its carelessness and inhumanity.
In ballpark burgers and on Wal-Mart shelves, people splurge on the leaner meat.
It would be bad enough if "grass-fed" really did mean that the cattle ate grass growing in a pasture. But "grass-fed" does not mean "pasture-raised." Pasture is out there. In here, in the barns, they use grass pellets. Pellets that don't have anywhere near the right kind of nutrition.
Have you ever tried grass-fed beef? It’s not nearly as prevalent as the grain-fed kind, but if you have the opportunity to purchase grass-fed beef, here are some reasons why you should...
There's a lot to consider when deciding what kind of meat to buy--or even whether to eat meat at all. The least we can do is start with accurate information.
BeefCentral.com is a free online news and market intelligence service dedicated to the Australian beef industry.
It is independently owned and produced by two of Australia’s most experienced rural journalists, Jon Condon and James Nason.
The beef checkoff is a producer-funded marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef.
Beef is more than what’s for dinner, but dinner will always be more when there’s beef. Funded by Beef Farmers and Ranchers.
The resource for Cattlemen and the beef industry.
The Wisconsin Beef Council is a producer-funded, producer-directed organization dedicated to building demand for beef and veal through promotion, consumer education and research.
There's a reason AngusPride® beef simply tastes better than other brands of Angus beef. In fact, there are several.
It's all a matter of our superior processes, like naturally aging beef approximately 14 days for exquisite tenderness, carefully hand-trimming and hand-selecting steaks for consistency, and grain-feeding cattle for optimal marbling and flavor.
Belcampo is a lot of things: a farm, a processing plant, a neighborhood butcher shop, a restaurant. What unites everything we do is our singular commitment to provide you with delicious, organic, and humane meat you can feel good about buying and eating.
Country Natural Beef was founded for the purpose of providing customers with a healthy and wholesome product for their families at a price that supports sustainable ranching. Each of the ranching members of Country Natural Beef recognizes that healthy and productive land is also biologically diverse.Country Natural Beef is a unique and true cooperative that links ranchers to ranchers, and ranchers directly to customers. Dakota Beef
The very best beef from independent farms. No mystery. Just meat.
Dakota Organic Beef provides the purest, most flavorful organic beef around. The only thing you’ll taste is simply natural beef because we never use hormones, antibiotics or harmful chemicals. And we believe in the importance of sustainable farming, respecting the land and animals, to provide healthy food for your family.
Eel River Organic Beef is located in the remote North West corner of California in the Eel River Valley surrounded by lush green sub-irrigated pastures and giant Redwood trees. Because of our mild climate with an average yearly temp of 54.5 degrees F and average rainfall of 38 inches per year, our grass fed beef graze on lush green pastures year ’round. Eel River Organic Beef is proud to boast that we raise the finest and healthiest beef available.
We are the nation’s largest single-source supplier of free-range, all-natural, grass-fed and grass-finished beef. We practice sustainable agriculture and managed grazing on our two ranches in Central California: the Piedra Blanca ranch in San Simeon and the Jack Ranch in Cholame.
NCBA works to encourage the humane treatment of farm animals, the wise stewardship of natural resources and the implementation of good husbandry practices.
Dr. Whisnant is passionate about the solar based, 100% grassfed agricultural model that is better for the animals, better for the consumer, better for the land, and better for the family farms.
America’s veal farmers are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of their calves, taking care of the environment and providing safe, high-quality, healthy food for consumers. Most veal calves are raised on small family farms, and veal-farming families are proud to share more about their farms and their ongoing dedication to doing what’s right.
Eatwild.com provides research-based information about "eating on the wild side."
Few of us will go back to foraging in the wild for our food, but we can learn to forage in our supermarkets, farmers markets, and from local farmers to select the most nutritious and delicious foods available.
Eatwild has been providing information about the benefits of choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals since 2001.